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Long Arms


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Hi. I have been taking ballet classes for many years now and am consistently progressing. But now my teacher says there is one major thing holding me back: my arms. They are WAY too long! When I stand straight and have my arms just at my sides they reach almost to my knees while most people's hang around mid-thigh. My dance teacher even calls me a gorilla (jokingly of course) because of them sometimes. :wub: My arms are also double-jointed, meaning that when I hold them completely straight it looks as if they are bending backwards. I know it sounds strange, but it is true! I know that I need to fix them and I really try to but I don't know how to! If anyone has any advice or personal experiences on this particular subject I would be really grateful to hear them! Thanks!

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dancer, hyperextension in the arms, and long arms are just not all that unusual, but they just take a lot more work to control! :D Believe me, although mine are not unusually long, I know all too well about seriously hyperextended arms! :wub: First of all they can NEVER be totally straight, under any circumstances! Secondly, because they are also exceptionally long, you will need to work with each position to determine where they look right. This is a job for your teacher, and something that should have been done regularly throughout your training. Like placement and rotation, port de bras has to be individually fixed for your body, and that has to be done by someone who has the knowledge and who can see you. It's not something that can be fixed here. But, the good news is that it IS fixable, and not nearly as difficult to fix as some other things I can think of. :dry:

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Guest dancingforever

I just wanted to let you know that I feel your pain. :wub: I have very hyperextended arms too, and they are pretty long. I can even touch my elbows behind my back, and the only other person I know who can do that was called a monkey by her teachers at SAB years ago. I constantly have to think about my arms--especially in fifth position en haut. Checking yourself in the mirror can help too, especially when you are first becoming aware of the problem, because you may be so used to hyperextending that nothing feels wrong. Eventually, though, you have to program your muscles to stay straight (which will feel bent to you) and you'll be able to feel the difference. Good luck! :dry:

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Let's not forget Marie Taglioni, who had very long arms, round shoulders and a tiny head. They called her "the hunchback". Of course, it helped to have a genius balletmaster for a father and an in with all the best designers in Paris!

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Thanks for all the help! Dancingforever, I can touch my elbows behind my back as well and it makes me feel better that someone else has been called some sort of primate as well as me! LOL. Yes, I do think I have become so accustomed to hyperextending my arms that I didn't even know it was wrong until my dance teacher told me. I will definitely try what you said about keeping my muscles straight even if it feels bent... Thanks! Ms Leigh and Mr Johnson, thanks for the advice. I will keep it in mind!

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